This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill (HR 2792) that would suspend eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for certain beneficiaries classified as "fugitive felons."
This bill would disproportionately harm people with mental illness who currently receive SSI benefits and have previous law enforcement interactions.
Current law already requires suspension of SSI eligibility when a beneficiary is convicted of a felony or is incarcerated for a felony offense.
- would further suspend benefits for any allegation of a felony offense, or a probation or parole violation - regardless of how old it is.
- offers no exception for minor infractions in the past, or inactive cases that law enforcement agencies are no longer pursuing.
The loss of eligibility for SSI would be especially devastating in states where it will result in people with mental illness also losing eligibility for Medicaid and access to treatment.
This bill is attached to HR 2824, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. While NAMI does not oppose the MIECHV program, it should not be funded by cutting SSI benefits for people with serious mental illness.